Banned PCBs and Agrochemicals in Blood Reduced 50 Percent By Centuries-Old Detoxification Procedure, Study Shows
The issue of possible human health effects of persistent organochlorine substances is an ongoing concern and area of important scientific investigation. This report has implications for the mobilization of and clearance of persistent fat-soluble xenobiotics and could serve as a stepping-stone towards randomized controlled trials on the efficacy of these methods.
— Laurence Fuortes, M.D., Professor, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
Toxic occupational and agricultural chemicals that are stored in the body—and known to cause disease—can be significantly reduced by an Ayurvedic detoxification procedure, according to a report released today.
The study, published in the Sept./Oct. 2002 issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, found that a centuries-old purification procedure derived from the Ayurvedic medical system of India reduced several fat-soluble toxicants by about 50 percent.
“This is the first published study on humans to demonstrate that a specific detoxification regimen can significantly reduce levels of lipophilic toxicants in the blood that are known to be associated with disease,” says Robert Herron, Ph.D., lead author of the study and Director of Research at the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.
Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Comparisons
The study consisted of two parts: cross-sectional comparison and longitudinal pre- & post-treatment.
Eighty-eight subjects, age 45 years and older, participated in the cross-sectional study: 48 had previously undergone the detoxification procedure an average of 18 times and 40 had not. Blood samples from both groups were sent to the Analytical Laboratory in the Department of Environ-mental Health at Colorado State University that was blind to the treatment status of the subjects.
PCB’s and Pesticides Found in Blood Samples
Blood samples from both cross-sectional groups were assayed for 17 lipophilic toxicants, including 9 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners and 8 pesticides and metabolites, such as DDE, a by-product of DDT. The specific PCBs and pesticides that were studied either had been previously linked to major health problems or have been of high concern for their potential toxicity.
The results showed blood levels of PCBs and several pesticides were significantly lower in the detoxification group than in the controls.
Herron says that lipophilic toxicants are generally considered to be among the most problematic environmental contaminants and many of them have been banned in the U.S. for decades. Because of their fat-soluble nature and their long half-lives, they tend to accumulate in plants and animals and bio-magnify up the food chain, increasing in humans with age. Previous studies show that these toxicants have been associated with hormone disruption, immune system suppression, reproductive disorders, several types of cancer, and other diseases.
Lipophil-mediated Detoxification Procedure
In the longitudinal study, blood samples from 15 subjects who participated in the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health (MVAH) Ayurvedic detoxification procedure were assayed, pre- and post-treatment, by CSU’s Analytical Laboratory.
Ayurveda dates back thousands of years in India and is recognized by the World Health Organization as a complete system of natural medicine. However, due to several foreign invasions over the centuries, it has been slowly, but substantially altered. Starting in 1984, Ayurveda was restored and standardized in accordance with the classical texts of India under the direction of a leading Vedic scholar, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of Maharishi University of Management and world-renowned for introducing the Transcendental Meditation® technique.
Striking Reductions in PCBs and Beta-HCH Levels
The results of the two-month longitudinal study showed that PCBs and Beta-HCH levels were reduced by 46 percent and 58 percent respectively in the MVAH detoxification group. Without this intervention, the expected drop in PCBs and Beta-HCH over two months would be only a fraction of one percent. Previously, no method had been scientifically verified to reduce levels of these lipid-soluble toxicants in the human body without causing negative side effects.
How Lipophil-mediated Detoxification May Work
Lipophilic toxicants are stored in lipids, or fats, in the body, and are fat-soluble in nature. Several modalities in the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health detoxification procedure use non-toxic, lipophilic materials, such as clarified butter in the oleation phase and herbalized sesame oil in the massage and enema treatments. These traditional methods are believed to sequentially loosen and remove lipid soluble toxicants from their deposited sites and stimulate their excretion.
“Our findings were quite striking, given that the half-lives of these toxicants are all several years in duration, and that this comprehensive detoxification procedure removed them in just a few days.” says Herron.
PCBs and Pesticide Levels Still High
Herron says an alarming finding of the study was that PCB and DDE levels appear to be unexpectedly high in the general population, and may actually be increasing.
“These toxicants were banned decades ago and were assumed to be declining to negligible levels in the U.S. population. Our findings, however, suggest that they are still entering the food chain and appear to be increasing in humans. One possible explanation is that produce imported to the U.S. from Mexico and Latin America may contain banned toxicants since these hazardous chemicals are still widely used for agriculture in those countries,” says Herron.
Reference: Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, (Sept./Oct. 2002), Vol. 8, No. 5: pp. 40–51.